Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wondering If Liberals Accept Gravity?

This survey illustrates why you can not have a discussion with liberals. Their knowledge of the real world is abysmal.

Who is better informed about the policy choices facing the country—liberals, conservatives or libertarians? According to a Zogby International survey that DANIEL B. KLEIN writes about in the May issue of Econ Journal Watch, the answer is unequivocal: The left flunks Econ 101.

Zogby researcher Zeljka Buturovic and I considered the 4,835 respondents' (all American adults) answers to eight survey questions about basic economics. We also asked the respondents about their political leanings: progressive/very liberal; liberal; moderate; conservative; very conservative; and libertarian.

Here are the questions. See how you do.

1) Mandatory licensing of professional services increases the prices of those services (unenlightened answer: disagree)

2) Overall, the standard of living is higher today than it was 30 years ago (unenlightened answer: disagree).

3) Rent control leads to housing shortages (unenlightened answer: disagree).

4) A company with the largest market share is a monopoly (unenlightened answer: agree).

5) Third World workers working for American companies overseas are being exploited (unenlightened answer: agree).

6) Free trade leads to unemployment (unenlightened answer: agree).

7) Minimum wage laws raise unemployment (unenlightened answer: disagree).

8) "Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable." (unenlightened answer: disagree).

How did the six ideological groups do overall? Here they are, best to worst, with an average number of incorrect responses from 0 to 8: Very conservative, 1.30; Libertarian, 1.38; Conservative, 1.67; Moderate, 3.67; Liberal, 4.69; Progressive/very liberal, 5.26.

Americans in the first three categories do reasonably well. But the left has trouble squaring economic thinking with their political psychology, morals and aesthetics. In other words, reality does not exist in wonderland.

The survey also asked about party affiliation. Those responding Democratic averaged 4.59 incorrect answers. Republicans averaged 1.61 incorrect, and Libertarians 1.26 incorrect.

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